The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

RGLP discusses "Are We There Yet?" with Dr. Gama Perruci

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Having spent significant time in both the United States and Korea, I often ask myself about where I belong. Am I a Korean-American or a Korean with an American passport or an American with a Korean passport? As a member of the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program, I stepped into the lecture room with these questions in mind.

Dr. Gama Perucci's lecture titled "Are We There Yet" delves into the issues of nation-building and nationalism. Throughout the lecture, he discussed the birth and the demarcation of a state prior to 1600 with the introduction of conscription and taxation, and the democratization of the nation in 1800s spurred by a series of revolution that introduced the notion of citizenship.

We discussed the methods by which nation-states rely on to develop of sense of solidarity. His mentioning of defining 'others' as a primary means of bringing national identity grabbed my attention. The methods employed by the states early in history seems to be repeatedly employed even now as the notion of othering is still an issue of heated debate. With Dr. Perucci, members of the program debated the causes of changing boundaries, and how the meaning of a nation is shifting with globalization.

We discussed Garry Davis who relinquished his citizenship to claim for a worldwide citizenship. Dr. Perucci's session challenged us to rethink about the associations we make in terms of our nationality and culture, and persuaded us to think outside of the invented norms that we have deeply accustomed ourselves to. We were given a chance to rethink of our place as a global citizen.

Bertha Von Suttner, in a nobel peace prize lecture on 1905, imagined a world with an international body that could facilitate peace-making. We now live in a world mediated by different international organizations. Roughly 70 years ago, nobody imagined hostile European nation-states creating a coalition. We now live in a world where the European Union emerged as a key player in the global politics. Dr. Perucci's session provides an opportunity for reflection and imagination for a possible future.

--Brian Kim '13, RGLP Spring 2014 Participant

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences